Special Designs

Umbrella Structures

The umbrella system was designed and built with a roof membrane opening or closing fully automatically at the push of a button. When it is closed the membrane forms a wind-proof and rain-proof roof. In an alternative position opening towards above (lotus position) it can be used as sunshade enhancing cooling air exchange. Wind sensors monitor the system. When the atrium with a diameter of 24 m is entirely opened, the structure weighing 40 tons folds up completely and is lowered within 6 minutes in a 19 m deep shaft.


Within an equally short time the roof membrane can also be brought back into its original position. The membrane is made of PVC-coated polyester fabric. The umbrella structure is moved by two cable winch drives. One drive is used for extending and retracting the lift mast, the second drive activates the folding mechanism.

Flexible roof

Waagner-Biro has already carried out several “changeable” roof structures. One outstanding solution was carried out in a shut down foundry hall with built-in seating stands. The roof can be moved to various positions:


In good weather, in “foyer” position, as spatial partitioning element on a cantilever arm

In “seating stands” position as weather protection for the spectators

During winter the roof is parked in the hall: “winter position”. In this way the structure is not exposed to snow loads and winter storms.

At a height of approx. 15 m two wave-shaped girders swing up out of the foundry hall parallel to the side walls. A roof composed of 9 individual segments of 3.2 m length each runs on the wave-shaped girder. Each of these individual elements consists of a steel frame filled with a pneumatically stabilized membrane cushion. Together they form the approx. 29 m long cushion wagon which makes up the actual roof. The cushion wagon adapts to the wave shape of the girder. The inner pressure of the cushions is maintained by a fan. All movements are carried out and monitored by a control unit.

Inclinable running tracks


The need for topographic super elevation of running track curves is due to the fact that with the curve radii available in sports halls (between 11 and 21 m) the running speeds that can be reached during sprints can only be achieved by an additional inclination of the running track with regard to the runner’s inclination.


According to the standards of the International Association of Athletics Federations an ideal curve inclination was determined which mainly depends on the athletes’ speed and the radius of the running track curves. This guarantees the optimum angle for the athletes at each point of the track. Since fixed or conventional 200 m oval running tracks to be installed on top proved to be extremely uneconomical due to considerable costs, an oval running track with mechanically adjustable curves was developed. The system can be adjusted by the hall attendant alone within less than 2 minutes so that the availability of the multipurpose sports hall is nearly unlimited and the costs for staff and operation are kept to a minimum.